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Monday, April 28, 2014
Louisville adds depth with QB signing

By Andrea Adelson

Louisville went into the spring needing to find a quarterback to replace Teddy Bridgewater.

The Cards left the spring needing depth at the position.

Now, it seems coach Bobby Petrino has answered both needs.

Louisville signed dual-threat junior college quarterback Patrick Thomas on Monday, meaning it is expected to have six quarterbacks on the roster come August. Though he will enter the quarterback mix, it would probably take a Herculean effort to unseat Will Gardner, whom Petrino declared as his starter when spring practice ended.

Not only is Thomas rehabbing from a torn ACL, he enters behind three quarterbacks who have already had a spring in the new offensive system.

The signing, then, speaks more to the players behind Gardner than Gardner himself. There is no question Gardner is the top quarterback available, after he separated from senior Brett Nelson and redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin as each practice went on. During the spring game, Gardner threw for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Most of it came against the second-team defense, but Gardner showed not only the best grasp of the offense but the strongest arm and most athleticism at the position throughout the spring.

"He's very competitive," Petrino said last week on the ACC coaches spring conference call. "He certainly has the respect and the trust of all his teammates and can make the different throws and move in the pocket and do the things we want to do."

On that same call, Petrino spoke about the need to develop depth behind Gardner -- who has never started a collegiate game. In addition to Thomas, Nelson and Bolin, Louisville expects Penn State transfer Tyler Ferguson and freshman Reggie Bonnafon in the quarterback room as well, though Ferguson must sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules. Essentially, Louisville has now doubled its quarterback numbers since the Gardner, Nelson, Bolin trio left the Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium field and the spring behind 10 days ago.

Simply put, you can never have too many quarterbacks on the roster, not when there still is much left to prove at the spot headed into the fall.